7 Habits of Effective Artists

What separates successful artists from their fans? 3D artist and animator, Andrew Price, gives you some advice to improve your artistic development.

In 2015, creator Andrew Pierce made a bet with his younger cousin: whoever managed to get 1000 likes for their painting work and 2D drawing would win $1000. Six months later, Andrew had done it. His bet inspired his Blender Conference 2016 talk, The Habits of Effective Artists.

In it, he shares how to be a more effective artist, the habits and practices of the best artists in computer graphics and tricks and advice on how to improve your own work.

7 habits to be a more efficient and creative artist

1. Daily work

You should work on your technique, pieces, tasks, or some other kind of creative objective every day. You might think you’ll do it in your spare time but the fact is, those big blocks of spare time rarely turn up.

Starting is normally the hardest part. Start bit by bit, draw a line, keep adding more and more: the best artists in history got to where they were by working every day.

2. Quantity, not perfection

Most creatives have this affliction and many artists would consider it one of their strengths: being a perfectionist. But being a perfectionist actually blocks your growth because it stops you getting to the next lesson. Do all the work you can, stick with your projects, practice and soon enough you’ll take the next step.

3. Steal

It’s common to see works of artists we admire and assume they were born to do what they do. The reality is that the brain always starts with the ideas it has in front of it, that it came across at any particular moment: your creative heroes built on the shoulders of the artists before them that they loved. If you take a look back, you will find that the best artists are inspired by the greats that came before them.

Seek out creators that inspire you, get to know their own story and inspiration, and steal what you can, but in the best sense of the word.

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Patricio Betteo

4. Conscious learning

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect.” It’s certainly true but, if you’re not conscious of what you’re doing, chances are you’re just wasting time. Review your previous work, take a look through your old sketchbooks and models, if there isn’t any difference between them, the reality is you’re not improving and, even less, learning. Take your learning process seriously and invest your time wisely.

5. Rest

Creative blocks can often cause a lot of frustration. When you take some distance from it and start to work on another activity, a solution will suddenly come to you. Learn to rest, to clear the mind, and take breaks that allow you to work with a different perspective, with fresh eyes.

6. Get feedback

The great thinkers and artists of history all had to credit their critics and detractors that helped them grow. Find as much criticism, and as many opinions and comments as you can: honesty is hard but crucial to the creative process.

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Patricio Betteo

7. Make what you love

What motivates people is often forgotten. If you look at the work that the best artists today are making, it’s what they are personally interested in; Christopher Nolan makes films about what really interests him; Elon Musk made companies because he’s really interested in the success of the human race.

Art is one of the few places in which you can do what you really want. Do what you love, that way your work will be better and you’ll keep at it.


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